Tech

Security alert from Google: one million account credentials are stolen every month

Security alert from Google: one million account credentials are stolen every month

Following a year-long study by Google and UC Berkeley, we know that data breaches are the most popular method of stealing users' credentials, but phishing scams are more risky because of the extra information that's exposed.

12 percent of the records exposed through data breaches used Gmail addresses, and 7 percent of these cases saw the same password used for both accounts. Google says that 12-25% of the attacks recorded during its research yielded a valid password, while third-party breaches settled at 12%.

Even though the company is taking actions against anonymous breaches by securing users password, the hackers are now trying to collect more sensitive details about someone's account, which are usually asked during the sign-up.

The largest number of stolen logins that Google found for sale on black markets totalled 3.3 billion and came from third-party data breaches.

The threats online can be encapsulated to three MOs: keylogging, third-party breaches, and phishing.

Google said that hackers are searching and have found different usernames and passwords on different platforms on the black market.

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From March 2016 to March 2017, Google and UCB trawled public and private hacker forums and paste sites to search for stolen log-in names, passwords, and other account details.

"Finally, we regularly scan activity across Google's suite of products for suspicious actions performed by hijackers and when we find any, we lock down the affected accounts to prevent any further damage as quickly as possible", the company added. In other words, Google accounts get stolen mainly due to user-side errors, rather than hacking.

"While we have already applied these insights to our existing protections, our findings are yet another reminder that we must continuously evolve our defences in order to stay ahead of these bad actors and keep users safe", they said.

Over 4000 distinct phishing kits were discovered during the study, the most popular of which emulates Gmail, Yahoo, and Hotmail login pages. On the other hand, 18 percent targeted phone numbers and the device's make and model.

Google has increasingly tried to protect its users from having their accounts "hijacked" through the implementation of new security tools such as its recently announced Advanced Protection program and through its new two step verification program Google Prompt.


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